Burger King takes on McDonald’s with a range of ‘unhappy’ meals

Burger King is running a limited edition range of ‘moody’ meals for Mental Health Awareness Month, in May 2019 Burger King


No one is happy all the time. That’s the message Burger King is trying to communicate with a lineup of burger meals focused on “real” moods to help raise awareness about mental health.

Timed to Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the “Real Meals” include the Blue Meal, Salty Meal, Yaaas Meal and DGAF (Don’t Give a F—) Meal. They include a Whopper, french fries and a drink.

“Burger King restaurants understands that no one is happy all the time. That’s why they’re asking guests to order a Whopper meal based on however they might be feeling,” an online release says.

The effort also pokes fun at McDonald’s, which markets Happy Meals, boxed kids’ deals that include a toy. Burger King launched an ad on YouTube showing a montage of people in various emotional states, using the line: “No one is happy all the time. And that’s OK.”

The ad swaps Burger King’s well-known chorus from the 1970s, “Have it your way,” with “Feel your way.” The music also has been changed to be more authentic to the idea that people can have a range of feelings.

This isn’t the first time Burger King has teased McDonald’s. In December, it sold its trademark Whopper for 1 cent. To get the deal, customers had to download the Burger King app on their phones. Then when they went within 600 feet of any of more than 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants, the app used geolocation technology to “unlock” the Whopper-for-a-penny deal.

The fast-food competitors have also launched rival promotions at similar times and tweak their menus to stay on top of trends. Burger King is trying a vegetarian Whopper, while McDonald’s added a meatier burger to its breakfast menus in October.

Burger King, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, has partnered with Mental Health America for the campaign. The group’s president and chief executive, Paul Gionfriddo, said: “While not everyone would think about pairing fast food and mental health, MHA believes in elevating the conversation in all communities in order to address mental illness Before Stage 4 (when someone has severe symptoms).”

“By using its internationally-known reputation to discuss the importance of mental health, Burger King is bringing much-needed awareness to this important and critical discussion — and letting its customers know that is OK to not be OK.”

On Monday, Burger King reported a same-store quarterly sales increase of 2.2 percent. It said that price hikes on its nuggets and the reintroduction of its spicy chicken nuggets helped sales, but parent company Restaurant Brands International saw adjusted earnings of 55 cents per share, falling short of estimates of 58 cents per share.

McDonald’s latest quarterly earnings, issued Tuesday, beat estimates, with earnings of $1.78 per share, versus an expected $1.75. It said a range of promotions and an investment in self-serve kiosks and other technology helped it beat expectations, though it noted that tech spending will mean higher expenses this year.

The limited-edition Burger King meals will be available in Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles, New York City and Austin, Texas, while supplies last.

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